Just Live Mindfully


Tag: relax

I Stayed In My Pajamas Because…

Today, I stayed in my pajamas.  All day.  Yup…all…freakin’…day…

And guess what, I’m totally cool with it.  Why?  Because I was able to get a TON of stuff done.

I had a healthy breakfast.  I researched a topic for a few talks I have coming up in 2018.  I watched the Pats.  And I rested.

Rest is totally a part of the program.  And it should be a part of your life too.  Believe it or not, you can still rest while getting things done.  Life is never going to be stress free, but it can have less stress. The question is, how do you get there?  The first step is to make a decision.

Decide you want a change.  Decide you want to have less stress in your life.  Decide that you want to have one day a week, a full day, in your pajamas.  Once you do this, you’re on the right track.  What’s next?

Make it a habit.  Make the practice of taking one day a week to do what you want, even if it is staying in your pajamas.  Give the day a name if it helps you stick to it.  Get your family involved.  Over time, taking the day will become a normal practice for you…and your family.  Now what?

Now, sit back, relax and enjoy.  Enjoy your decision.  Enjoy your life.  And enjoy the new pajamas you’re about to buy for the next pajama day.

Is Vacation Mode Good or Bad?

While I’ve been on vacation, I’ve noticed something about the way I feel.  Yes, I’m calm and relaxed and I’m having fun, but my body is not in love with Island Time.  Let’s just say, my stomach has been in knots for two days now.  I’ve been trying to figure out if I hate something that didn’t agree with me or if I drank something I wasn’t in love with, and I think I figured it out.  But even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to make myself well again instantaneously.   And this whole thought got me thinking…

 Is Vacation Mode really the best thing for our bodies?

For me, it’s not.  I tried to stick to my routine by bringing my workout gear and going for a run.  That helped, but the food I’ve been eating and the beverages I’ve been having are not what I’m used to.  Good food, don’t get me wrong, but not what I eat on a daily basis.  So let’s talk about Vacation Mode and I’ll share my experience, which may be yours too.

Vacation Mode is what happens when we go on vacation, put ourself on autopilot, relax and become a lot more carefree.  When someone is in vacation mode, they tend to be a little more lax on what they eat and drink and go outside of their normal routine.  Some even forgo their workouts while they are in Vacation Mode because they feel they deserve a break.  All of these statements above include myself, to a certain extent.  In the past, I would never care about what I did on vacation because I was in Vacation Mode.  I would eat and drink whatever I wanted, I would not workout because I was on vacation and didn’t think I had to and would just forget all about my sleep.  Doing this over and over again led me to have the hardest time getting out of Vacation Mode when I got back to reality.

Now, after having my stomach in knots for two days now, I’ve realized that Vacation Mode has it’s good points and it’s bad ones too.  The good points include:

  • Knowing you might be able to relax
  • No work for X number of days
  • Less stress, if any at all
  • Great tasting food and drinks
  • Trying out a new place, or one you love

But Vacation Mode for has bad points too:

  • Eating too much or food that is too rich
  • Drinking too much
  • Getting less sleep than you normally do
  • You’re not in your own bed
  • Working out may not even be in the agenda

Now, I’m sure you can name other pros and cons for Vacation Mode.  I’d love to see your pros and cons in the comments below.  But let’s really answer the question asked earlier.  Is Vacation Mode good or bad?  I think it can go both ways.  I love vacation mode, but I think in order to keep myself somewhat normal, I need to workout regularly, I need to eat the same or similar foods that I would at home and I need to make sure I’m drinking enough water and going to bed at a decent time.  But for now, I’m still going to enjoy when I’m in Vacation Mode and slowly but surely work toward a life I don’t have to take a vacation from.  Even better, right?

If you need help getting out of Vacation Mode, follow these three tips I have that just might help you unwind and get back to your normal routine quicker than usual.

Do I Really Need to Meditate?

I asked myself that same question.  Like, really…do I really need to meditate?  Well, in my opinion, the answer can be different for everyone.  However, after really practicing it for the past month I would recommend it for everyone.  In this post, I share some information about meditation, some apps I use to help me practice the skill and how it could work for you.

What is meditation anyway? The definition is the written or spoken discourse expressing one’s thoughts on a subject.  To me, meditation is about getting inside that deep, dark space in your brain that contains your thoughts and feelings and sometimes has the answers you’re looking for.  It is a skill that must be practiced too, because it’s not easy…not even for a coach like me.  There are a variety of ways to meditate, but as a beginner, focus on guided meditation until you can hone the skill.

At my full-time job, I’ve taken guided meditation classes and either on a teleconference or in person, the instructor will lead us to a place that hones in on our thoughts, our wants and our needs.  The instructor will play some soft, quiet music, have us close our eyes and speak to us in a low volume that instructs us how to get to that deep, dark place inside our brain.  She asks us to focus on a question that we’ve been wanting the answer to and then stays quiet for a bit.  This quiet allows our brain to process the thoughts swarming in our head and helps the answer to the question we have come out.  She then brings us back to reality in that low volume and we awaken with a sense of calm.  Funny how just sitting there, quietly and thinking will make us feel so relaxed and focused.

As I said, meditation is not an easy thing to do.  But because I know the benefits (which we’ll get to) that meditation can have, I needed to start practicing it regularly.  I decided to check out some apps for guided meditations.  I decided to choose two for now, at least until I can decide which is right for me.  The first is Welzen.

Welzen is a free app on iPhone that provides mindfulness meditations.  It has a 5-day intro series to help you learn how to meditate, which I thought was fantastic.  Especially when you’re first starting out.  It also has a daily meditation that changes each day.  And it has categorized meditations that focus on a specific area of need.  Things like stress, work, relationships, etc.  The meditations last approximately 5 minutes so they’re quick and easy to do.  You can subscribe to Welzen for a monthly, yearly or indefinite time period, but the free version works well enough for me.

The other app I decided to try was Calm.  This app is similar in that it brings mindful meditations to the listener and has a variety of categorized meditations to try out.  It’s also great for beginners because it has a 7-day series to help you get started.  The guided meditation sessions range in time from 3 minutes to 25 minutes leaving it up to the listener to decide what to choose which meditation works for the time available.  Calm also offers a daily meditation.  The additional benefits of Calm are what I loved even more.  Calm offered breathing exercise, sleep stories, unguided timed meditations and more than 25 nature sounds to play in the background.  It even tracks your progress to see how often you meditate and how you improve the more you practice.

One thing to be leery of is the number of apps out there.  I did some research before I choose one and hey, I ended up choosing two to work with.  Mindful Magazine created a go-to list of mindfulness apps last month and Calm is one of the apps recommended.  To see the full list, click here.

So what are the benefits of using these apps?  What will they do for you?

  • Meditating regularly can help you sleep better and can even be a permanent solution to insomnia.
  • Meditating can help manage stress and anxiety.
  • Meditating can increase focus and productivity.
  • Meditating can improve relationships.
  • Meditating can improve creativity.

Why are there so many benefits?  I mentioned earlier how going to the deep, dark place in your brain can sometimes help you answer questions you might have but cannot seem to find the answer.  Meditation can open up that pathway to the answer and by finding the answer to something that’s bugging you, you open up the pathway to a healthier life.  I can tell you, since I’ve started meditating, I have had deeper sleep than I have had in the past 35 years!  Yup, it’s true!

So back to the question at hand.  Do you really need to meditate?  The straightforward answer is no, but I would highly recommend it to the person that needs answers in life, that wants to life a healthier life and to the person that wants a more fulfilling life.  And if your not sure, download one of the apps and try it.  You might just fall in love with meditation.  Let me know which app you end up choosing.

If you’ve already had some experience with it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Share your comments below and tell me what meditation has done for you!

Reiki…is it for you?

One of the things I always encourage is practicing self-care.  For some, that may include taking time to de-stress from time to time.  One of my ways to attempt to live stress-free is to have a reiki session about every month.  You may be asking yourself “What the heck is reiki?”  Well, you’re in luck because I’m going to give you a little overview of what reiki is, how it works and give you my personal experience to help you see if it’s right for you.

Let’s start with an easy question – What is reiki?  The word itself has Japanese origins.  Rei means “God’s wisdom or the higher power” and Ki means “life force energy”.  Essentially, reiki is spiritually guided life force energy.  And they say you should connect more and more to your life force energy to live a well balanced life.

Reiki is an alternative practice that helps to promote stress reduction and relaxation.  It use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing.  Practitioners transfer universal energy through the palms to the body to allow the body to heal itself and reach balance.

The idea behind reiki is that unseen life force energy flows through our body and allows us to be alive.  If our energy is low, we are more likely to get sick and feel stressed out.  If our energy is high, we are more capable of being in “the flow” and feeling happy and staying healthy.

Want more info?  Let’s keep going.  Reiki treats the whole person and includes all areas – body, emotion, mind and spirit.  A session can be different for everyone too.  Some may feel the energy literally flowing through the body and around it.  Most feel a sense of relaxation, inner peace, security and well-being.

Reiki works through hand placement on energy lines or chakras along a person’s body.  A person has seven chakras on the body:

  1. Crown Chakra – Our consciousness concerned with perceptions of unity or separation comes from this chakra.  It also involves one’s inner wisdom.
  2. Third Eye – This is where our spiritual perspective comes from, our deep inner level of being.  It’s where our ability to trust our inner guidance comes from.
  3. Throat Chakra – Communication and expression come from this chakra.  All aspects of expressing, listening to and receiving our intuition are based here.
  4. Heart Chakra – The feelings we have of compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, rejection and well-being come through this chakra.
  5. Solar Plexus Chakra – Perceptions of power, control and freedom stem from this chakra.  This is the chakra that allows us to be ourselves.
  6. Sacral Chakra – Our wants and needs, what we find pleasurable and true in emotion come through this chakra.  Food and sex desires come through here.
  7. Root Chakra – This chakra represents security and survival and the ability to be grounded in the present.

If you’re still with me, you probably want to know more about a direct experience.  Well, I can share mine.  I’ve been going for reiki for years now and it’s been an amazing journey. I don’t know what I’d do without it now.  I will say, it took a few sessions before I really felt any changes.  It’s like any other practice…you have to do it a few times before you’ll see results.

I actually went yesterday and my practitioner has me lie down on a table, puts on soft music to help me get in the zone and has me take a few deep breaths before we start.  As she goes through my chakras she moves the energy around and helps balance my system.  Sometimes I can feel the energy being moved and I can see images that may or may not mean something for me.  I have felt like I was floating off the table before.  Believe it or not, I’ve seen the image of the staircase at Hogwarts in my mind.  Yes, strange, but there is a reason…sometimes I’m just not sure what it is.  These types of things happen simply because the energy is being moved about and the life force energy wants me to feel or see these things.

My sessions last about an hour and sometimes go a little over that.  When my session is over, I feel like I’ve had a HUGE weight lifted off my chest.  I feel a sense of relief and feel like the world is alright.  I can relate reiki to going to a therapist for a session.  Although my practitioner and I don’t always talk, she helps me feel better and feel more at ease.  I highly recommend reiki for anyone looking to try something new to help them de-stress and live a more balanced life.

If you’ve tried reiki, share your thoughts below.  I’d love to hear about your experiences and how it helps you.

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